Empty Capsules Market - Insights
Capsules offer a viable alternative to tablets as an oral delivery of therapeutic compounds. Empty capsules are oral dosage forms, which based on the type of manufacturing material, come in variety of sizes and colors such as pearl capsules and flavored capsules. There are various types of capsules such as soft gelatin capsules, hard gelatin capsules, sustained release capsules, enteric coated capsules, and rectal capsules. Soft and hard gelatin capsules are widely used empty capsules. Empty capsules are available in five sizes, which includes 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3 and each sized capsule can hold different quantity of active pharmaceutical ingredients. These capsules are differentiated on the basis of the amount of active pharmaceutical ingredient they can hold. For instance, 0 sized capsule can hold up to 500 mg and 3 holds about 200 mg of active pharmaceutical ingredient.
Advantages offered by capsules over conventional solid dosage forms is expected to drive growth of the empty capsules market
Capsules offer various advantages over other solid dosage forms such as tablets. One of the important advantage is that capsules can deliver solid as well as non-aqueous liquids and semisolid doses. Most of the active pharmaceutical ingredients such as vitamins, herbs, drug substances are not palatable. Capsules can play an important role in masking the taste of the drugs. Children find it hard to swallow liquid dosage forms of vitamin supplements such as castor oil and other fish oils, and can be effectively administered with capsules. Herbal products such as Cheyenne pepper are spicy (hot) and are hard to swallow, which can be effectively administered through gelatin capsules. Empty capsules are available in a variety of sizes, which can aid in dose calibration and customization according to individual needs. Active pharmaceutical ingredients, which cannot be compressed easily into tablets, can be administered using empty capsules.
The global empty capsules market was valued at US$ 1.55 billion in 2016 and is expected to witness a robust CAGR of 7.7% over the forecast period (2017–2025).
Figure 1. Global Empty Capsules Regional Market Share, 2017
Introduction of different types of materials for capsule manufacturing is supporting growth of the empty capsules market
Gelatin has widely been used material for empty capsules and is obtained from natural sources such as bovine gelatin and porcine gelatin. Two types of capsules can be manufactured using gelatin such as hard gelatin capsules and soft gelatin capsules. However, these capsules have limitations owing to the nature of gelatin as certain compounds cannot be mixed with gelatin such as highly water soluble compounds. Introduction of other compatible materials has widened the scope of applications for these products. For instance, introduction of non-gelatin capsules, which are synthetic (hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose) as well as vegetarian capsules has aided in growth of the market. Vegetarian capsules such as pullulan are made from tapioca plant and offers several advantage over gelatin capsules. Vegetarian capsules cause lesser allergies as compared to other forms. Moreover, people with hypersensitivity to cow and bovine products can consume vegetarian capsules. Thus, demand for vegetarian capsules is expected to increase significantly over the forecast period.
However, requirement of an industrial grade capsule filling machine is important as filling each capsule by hand is time consuming. Moreover, limitations with gelatin capsules such as restrictions on drug compatibilities, and difficulty for kidney and liver disease patient in excretion of additional protein content in gelatin capsules is expected to impact the growth of the empty capsules market.
Some players operating in the global empty capsules market are ACG Associated Capsules Pvt. Ltd., Capsugel, Inc., CapsCanada Corporation, Medicaps Ltd., Qualicaps, Inc., JC Biological Technology Co., Patheon, Inc., Roxlor LLC, and Sunil Healthcare Ltd.
Shell component and composition are important factors while manufacturing empty capsules. Gelatin or a non-gelatin polymeric material such as hypromellose, water, starch, and plasticizer is used in manufacturing hard or soft gelatin capsule shells. Different coatings can be used on shells in order to achieve the desired therapeutic action once the capsule is administered to the patient. For instance, enteric coated capsules are designed to release the drug in the intestine. Moreover, sustained release capsules are designed to release the drug ingredients slowly over a longer duration of time. Capsules can also be manufactured to achieve local effect, while bypassing the first pass metabolism such as rectal capsule, which are inserted into the rectal cavity. However, requirement of a capsule filling machine is important as filling each capsule by hand is time consuming.
Manufacturers can mix active pharmaceutical ingredients according to their need and can prepare a dosage form according to the requirement with the help of empty capsules. Capsules offer an easy way to administer drugs as these are easy to disintegrate, easy to swallow, and have faster dissolution times than other oral solid dosage forms. Advancement in technology such as sustained release dosage and extended release dosage in capsules, to achieve the required effects is expected to be factor for growth of the market. Advantages offered by capsules over tablets such as improved palatability and freedom to administer solid as well as semisolid drugs is driving growth of the empty capsules market. Furthermore, patients with kidney or liver problems can take the supplements through vegetarian capsules with no side effects as excretion of additional protein (present in gelatin capsules) from the body is difficult. These factors are expected to impact the empty capsules market over the forecast period.
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